What would they make of me?
Those that have loved me and gone.
Devoted loved ones such as my grandparents who played such a pivotal role in my formative childhood years or the close family friends who watched me grow up but are no longer around to see how I’ve turned out.
Just what on earth would they think now, if they could see me and speak?
Would they be proud? Would they smile when I came to mind? Or would they shake their heads in disbelief at the woman I have become or frown in anger at my actions?
It’s a funny ol’ thing to think about the impact we have on others isn’t it?
Or more poignantly, to think of the legacy we will leave behind for our loved ones when we are gone.
The clock is ticking for all of us and yet mostly we live our lives, cracking on with each day as best as we can, often seemingly unaware of the impact we may have on other people or what we are working towards.
During my teenage years my Mum was married to a man who wasn’t very pleasant.
It’s not something I’ve ever really talked about before on this blog. One, because he made our lives a misery. And two, because the last thing I ever want to do is upset someone I love dearly. As much as I share a great deal about my life on this blog, there are some areas where I just won’t – and cannot – go.
But it’s safe to say he wasn’t a good man. Sure, there were moments of decency from him that I can recognise, but on the whole, he was thoroughly unpleasant.
His ‘impact’ on my life as a teenager growing up left a huge mark.
A Great. Big. Dark. Black. Smudge of a mark that’s been hard to erase and is still evident, albeit only slightly, two decades on.
I never thought I could ever truly hate another human being, but his presence in my life showed me that I was wrong.
Because due to his actions, I learned that it is entirely possible to hate a person.
He died a few years ago, after separating from my Mum just a few months earlier and even though the loss of any life is tragic and desperately sad, for him I felt absolutely nothing bar pity.
There were no tears from me.
Not an ounce of sadness.
Just genuine pity for a life that he squandered. For a life wasted.
The legacy he left was one that none of us would ever want to leave by choice. Or indeed pick for our children.
Bar one family member, he had no devastated loved ones to mourn his passing at his funeral. Few friends to remember him fondly, share funny tales or precious memories.
And whilst his behaviour towards others almost certainly created that and whilst karma undoubtedly did her worst in terms of payback, still, how terribly sad to depart from this life barely loved or missed.
Or worst still, despised and pitied.
It’s a horrible thought isn’t it? To think our lives could mean so little?
We all leave our mark on other people. Yet how many of us truly think about that until it’s too late or until too much damage has been done?
It never fails to amaze me that you and I have the ability to either make someone’s day or to break it, and yet still so many of us continually question the importance of our lives and why we are here.
Because it’s actually frighteningly clear.
We are here to make an impact on others. We are here to leave a legacy.
And what they are? What they become? Well, like it or not, that is all down to us.
As children we have no control over the circumstances we are brought up in. We’re at the mercy of our parents, grandparents and other adults who surround us.
But as adults? Well we absolutely do.
We get to decide whether we treat someone well or horribly. We get to choose how we speak to other people, from our children whom we would die for to the lady behind the shop counter who serves us our bacon butty.
We pick whether we’re there for our loved ones or absent. If our actions and words are kind or bitter. Whether we’re happy or miserable.
We get to decide what we do with our lives and how we use our talents. Whether we fritter them away and achieve nothing or keep trying to offer some form of authentic contribution to the world.
One day, we will all be nothing but dust and memories.
In regards to life, there is no surer thing than that one day, our time will be up and we’ll be out of the game.
So think about your actions. Think about the impact you have and the legacy you are creating, right now with each passing day.
Because I don’t know about you, but the only mark I want to leave behind when I’m gone, is one stained with the very brightest of colours.